It was not a good night for the Bellator’s Russian imports as the promotion took the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania for Bellator 77. The evening saw the start of the season seven lightweight tournament, which was anchored by debuting Russian phenom Alexander Sarnavskiy, who faced off with UFC veteran Rich Clementi.
While Sarnavskiy came out firing at the onset of the bout, “No Love” was able to secure his back and maintained control for the entirety of the opening period. The UFC veteran then secured a deep rear-naked choke, which the Russian as able to survive. The second stanza saw more of the same. Clearly down on the cards, the RusFighter product came out looking for the finish in the third, repeatedly finding Clementi’s chin. The Lousiana native began flopping to his back at every opportunity, staying in the bout, scoring a late takedown, and defending a triangle attempt from the Russian. At the sound of the final bell, the judges were split, but the American found himself having his hand raised with a split decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Magomed Saadulaev looked impressive at the start of his Bellator debut, unfortunately for the Russian, it was not meant to be. After taking down Dave Jansen and controlling him for much of the first period, the American returned the favor in the second. By the third period, “The Rock” was spent. After stuffing a lazy shot, Jansen jumped a guillotine, forced a tap, and had his hand raised at 41 seconds of the closing round.
Marcin Held and Murad Machaev fought full-clip for ten minutes, leaving nothing for the third round. With both men splitting rounds, they entered the third period absolutely exhausted. Both men swang arm-weary punches at one another, while the Polish fighter clearly took the first and last minute of the period, the Russian controlled much of the time between, fighting at distance. After 15 minutes, “The Strangler” was confident he had won the fight, but it was Held who would have his hand raised as the judges rendered a unanimous 29-28 decision in his favor.
When countrymen Ricardo Tirloni and Rene Nazare stepped into the cage, both Brazilians looked to deliver an all-out battle. They did exactly that. Both men exchanged heavy leather for much of the first round. It was the second period that saw both men hurt, however. “The Brazilian Bomber” connected with a strong left hook that had Tirloni on his heels, but Ataque Duplo product would connect with a counter-right as his opponent opened up, flooring him. Tirloni would then follow him to the mat and secure a brabo choke, which Nazare refused to tap to, going to sleep at 1:14 of the middle period.
- Rich Clementi defeated Alexander Sarnavskiy via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28,28-29)
- Dave Jansen defeated. Magomed Saadulaev :041 of rd 3
- Marcin Held defeated. Murad Machaev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ricardo Tirloni defeated. Rene Nazare 1:14 rd 2